Friday, 19 April 2013

Film #1: The Silence (15)

Released: 2010
Directed by: Baran bo Odar
Original title: Das Letzte Schweigen (The Last Silence) 

I decided to start with something I watched recently, although I should perhaps have started with a more uplifting film (this does tackle a pretty unpleasant topic). 23 years ago, a young girl named Pia was brutally assaulted and murdered. In the present day, another crime is committed that seems to mimic the case down to the very last detail. Along with the detectives investigating the disappearance of young Sinikka, the film focuses on those involved in the original case and a man named Timo, who is desperately trying to forget an event from his past.

This is a character study, not a procedural thriller, although The Silence does contain some familiar tropes: the mother who keeps her house as a shrine to her deceased daughter, the retired policeman who lost his marriage to the case and has still not forgiven himself for failing to catch the killer, and the damaged detective who has recently returned to the force with a questionable mental state. However, the calibre of the actors and a slow-moving, almost dreamlike feel stops the film from descending into cliché. 

Some of the actors in this film – such as Katrin Sass, Burghart Klaussner and Sebastian Blomberg – are veterans of the German film industry and will pop up fairly regularly on this blog. Personally, I think a special mention needs to go to Wotan Wilke Möhring as Timo. As yet I have only seen Möhring in one other German film, a romantic comedy called Männerherzen (lit.: Men’s Hearts) with which I was less than impressed. Here, he is simply fantastic.

The film was recently shown on BBC Four and is available from at least some online rental outlets. Let me know what you think! 

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